Rebecca Blank, who has served as chancellor at the University of Wisconsin since 2013, will become the first woman to ever serve as president of Northwestern University.
Northwestern’s Board of Trustees on Monday announced Blank, 66, will become Northwestern’s 17th president beginning next summer.
“I am honored and delighted to accept the job as Northwestern’s next president,” Blank said in a statement. “Northwestern is a school that I have known and admired for years. Its reputation as a top-rated educational and research institution has grown each decade. It will be my mission to make sure the institution’s reputation and quality continues to accelerate.”
Before her time at Wisconsin, Blank served as the acting United States Secretary of Commerce under President Barack Obama in 2012. She’d previously held multiple other roles in the U.S. Department of Commerce.
In a press statement, Northwestern officials called Blank an “internationally renowned economist,” and a prominent researcher on poverty and the low-income labor market.
“The committee found Chancellor Blank to be unparalleled and impressive in her power to articulate a comprehensive and unifying vision across Northwestern’s constituencies and inspire as a proven collaborative and bold leader,” said Peter Barris, chair of the Presidential Search Committee and a vice chair of the Board of Trustees.
Blank will succeed Morton Schapiro, who has served as Northwestern’s president since 2009.